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I’ve Been Living with High Cholesterol for Years — Here’s How I Made My Lifestyle Healthier

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Jay, 76, has always had — in his words — a healthy addiction to exercise. “I did something physical every day,” he says. “I played baseball and tennis and ran four to five miles three times a week.” So he was shocked to find out he had high cholesterol. “I was in my 30s and I was healthy,” he says. “It was concerning.”

Like many diagnosed with high cholesterol, Jay wasn’t experiencing any symptoms. So when he found out that his low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — the “bad” cholesterol — was over 140mg/dL, he and his doctor had some decisions to make.

Tweaking his lifestyle

Otherwise in good health, Jay was resistant to taking medication every day to move his LDL-C to the point where it should be: under 100mg/dL. Instead he focused on other lifestyle choices.

“I thought simply eating fewer fats and sweets would handle the problem, so I cut down on red meat and fatty foods like pizza and junk food,” he says. “I also went on daily walks, alternated lifting weights with aerobic exercise every other day, and danced at every social event that had a band.”

That’s exactly where to start, according to Michael Blaha, MD, LIVALO® (pitavastatin) spokesperson and director of clinical research for the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“High cholesterol can be managed with an individualized treatment plan created with your doctor,” he says. “Whenever possible, we recommend physical activity
— 30 to 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise three to four times a week — and a heart-healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber.”

Taking the next step

Jay had no problem sticking with his exercise routine and eating plan, but it turned out not to be enough and his high cholesterol stubbornly stuck around. “My mother had high cholesterol and high blood pressure, so the doctors concluded it was purely hereditary,” he says.

That’s when he and his doctor decided to add medication to the mix — specifically, a statin, which is a prescription medication that can help reduce cholesterol in the body. “He told me that if I was his brother, he’d want me to try a statin,” Jay says. “He explained it would work in combination with my diet and exercise to help me achieve my cholesterol goals.” In 2014, Jay started taking LIVALO® (pitavastatin), and he hasn’t looked back.

His cholesterol levels are within a range that pleases his doctor and Jay feels comfortable relying on LIVALO to help keep his levels in check. “My doctor explained to me that while there are several statins available, not all statins are the same — what works for one person’s individual needs may differ for another,” Jay says. “He [Jay’s doctor] also said doctors may choose to prescribe LIVALO for those taking multiple medications to treat other conditions because it has a reduced risk of interacting with other medicines.”

LIVALO is a cholesterol-lowering medication called a “statin” for adults with high cholesterol that, along with a heart-healthy diet, helps to lower total cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides, and Apo B and to raise “good” cholesterol (HDL-C). LIVALO has not been studied to evaluate its effect on reducing heart-related disease or death. Ask your doctor if LIVALO is right for you. LIVALO is not right for everyone. Do not take LIVALO if: you have a known allergy to LIVALO or any of its ingredients, you have active liver problems, including some abnormal liver test results, you are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant, as it may harm the baby, or you are currently taking cyclosporine or gemfibrozil. Common side effects include back pain, constipation, diarrhea, muscle pain, and pain in the legs or arms. Please see Important Safety Information on the right, and full Prescribing Information.

Today, Jay shows no signs of slowing down — volunteering with the homeless through a local non-profit, attending almost every one of his favorite baseball team’s home games, and looking forward to getting back to his favorite pre-pandemic activities: travel, visiting with family around the country, and taking hip hop lessons.

If you want to speak to your provider about your treatment options, this customizable doctor discussion guide can help you begin the conversation.

Dr. Blaha and Jay are paid LIVALO representatives.

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